After a long challenging stretch, it looks like UK tourism is back on track.

The recently released Great Britain Tourism Survey statistics are fairly clear: looking at the first quarter of each year (January-March) you can see a marked decline in domestic tourism numbers and spending within the UK after the economic trials of 2008, followed by a slow and shaky trend (more or less) upward over the intervening years. But it looks like there’s finally some real progress being made in the tourism field with January-March 2015 pulling away sharply from previous years.
 
The amount of holiday trips that Brits are taking is up 12% from the same period last year, the highest in fact since the Great Britain Tourism Survey began in 2006, while visits to friends and relatives rose by a massive 21%. 
 
Some of the success has been linked to an unusually bright and sunny March, but VisitEngland’s CEO James Berresford believes that businesses deserve credit too: “The tourism industry’s confidence demonstrates the fantastic resilience of businesses who bounced back after the severe weather conditions that impacted destinations at the beginning of last year. We’re confident that the fantastic number of sporting, cultural and foodie events taking place across the country this summer will continue boosting the industry this year and are hopeful for a bumper summer for English tourism.” 
 
For those keen to hit the open road and get amongst the rich variety of events and experiences on offer in the UK this summer / autumn, we’ve got a few highlights that you may be interested in:
 
 
Wilderness
 
Far more than a simple music festival, Wilderness returns to Oxfordshire for a fifth year, featuring outdoor theatre, long table banquets, talks and debates, horse riding and yurt building - and of course the musical talents of Björk and Ben Howard. This four-day August fest is the perfect retreat for those who want to get away from it all, reset and refresh. Held at Cornbury Park in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, Wilderness is less than two hours out of the centre of London, but you’ll feel like you’re a world away. If you’re flying in to London for the event, it’s easy to pick up a Heathrow airport car rental and take the short trip northwest. Otherwise, there’s plenty of city locations in London to get a car rental - check AirportRentals.com to see all your options.
 
 
National Eisteddfod of Wales
 
To get a genuine look at Welsh culture at its best, you can’t go past their National Eisteddfod. While the modern Eisteddfod harks back to 1861, its cultural roots stretch as far back as 1176. Characterised by a joyful mix of literature, dance, theatre and music, this year’s weeklong event is held in Meifod, Montgomeryshire from the 1st of August. For those making the journey to Meifod this year, a great place to start is Birmingham. Just an hour and a half east of the Eisteddfod venue, the city is well known for its music and culture, and it’s simple to grab a Birmingham car rental to facilitate your journey of Welsh discovery.
 
 
The Rugby World Cup
 
Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest events in the nation this year. Even those who are not rugby fanatics tend to get caught up in the passion and drama of the World Cup, which kicks off on the 18th of September. While England has languished in recent tournaments, a return to home ground may provide just the morale boost that they need to carve their names once more in the book of sporting history. Taking place in 12 stadiums across England and one in Wales, this is truly a national event. Those who don’t want to miss any of the action can follow the tournament around the country, ensuring that when history happens, they’ll be there to see it.

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